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Are you a long term diabetic? Then you have the risk of developing Gastroparesis. Confused by its name? Gastroparesis is a condition when digestion is slowed down because of nerve damage. There are many causes of Gastroparesis; diabetes is the most common among them. 30 to 50% of diabetics have a chance of developing this condition.
As we all know, high blood glucose levels in blood for a long time can damage the nervous system. If the vagus nerve that controls the muscles in digestive tract gets affected, it could lead to a chronic form of gastroparesis. It is more often found in females.
What really are the complications of Gastroparesis?
When you are under insulin therapy, the amount of insulin to be injected is calculated based on the fluctuations in blood glucose levels after a meal. When you have Gastroparesis, digestion is delayed and blood glucose levels become unpredictable.
Also, food that stays in stomach for a longer period can facilitate overgrowth of bacteria, which can lead to nausea, vomiting etc.
Other complications of Gastroparesis are malnutrition, fatigue and weight loss and reduced appetite.
Symptoms of Gastroparesis
How to diagnose gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is determined based on time taken for stomach to get empty. The above mentioned symptoms can be mild or severe, but it does not necessarily indicate the severity of the condition.
Tests to identify gastroparesis are by using a device called SmartPill which can be swallowed and collects information as it passes through digestive tract or by having food or liquid substances that contain materials that can b visualized using x-ray or other means.
Gastric manometry is also used to detect gastroparesis.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals may help to avoid too much food in the stomach at one time.
Eliminate or reduce high-fat and high-fiber foods.
Eliminate or reduce foods that increase bowel activity.
Change insulin regimen if you take insulin. Your doctor may ask you to take insulin after meals and more often. This must be done with your doctor's guidance.
Get blood sugar levels in control.
Medications, such as metoclopramide and erythromycin, may be prescribed
In very severe cases, a feeding tube may be inserted into the small intestine allowing special nutrients to be delivered while bypassing the stomach altogether.
An implanted gastric neurostimulator is a type of “stomach pacemaker” that is battery operated and implanted surgically to aid in digestion.
Managing Diabetes and Gastroparesis might be tricky. You will need to work with your doctor and diabetes care team to come up with an optimal diet plan and diabetes regimen to manage both diabetes and gastroparesis.
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